As part of a financial turnaround, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center announced an 18 percent cut in administrative staff this week.
In January, the education and research campus west of Cortez saw revenues were not keeping pace with rising operations costs, said Crow Canyon CEO Liz Perry.
After an financial analysis, reducing administrative staff was deemed necessary to preserve the nonprofit known for its scientific, cultural and educational programming.
On Friday, 12 employees were let go, including the entire marketing department of eight employees.
“It’s incredibly difficult. We are all friends and colleagues, and they made great contributions,” Perry said. “We just can not afford to have an in-house marketing department anymore.”
A firm will be contracted for marketing at a lower cost, she said.
Management positions also were reorganized. Three of four program directors and one administrative assistant were laid off and replaced with a single leader.
Archaeologist Susan Ryan, PhD., will oversee all the programs, including archaeology, Native American partnerships, education and sponsored projects.
Staffing was reduced from 67 to 55, and other cost-saving efficiency measures are being studied. Additional staff cuts are not anticipated, Perry said, and no programs were cut.
“It is bittersweet, because we lost our beloved employees, but we also know by consolidating we can overcome our financial challenges and continue with all that we offer into the future,” she said.
Employees have been informed for some time about the financial problems and the potential for reduced staffing. Outgoing staff were provided transitional support.
As part of a three-year turnaround plan, Crow Canyon officials will look for ways to increase revenues, operate more efficiently and update their outdated business model.
As part of their new strategic plan, Crow Canyon will consolidate their three pillars of archaeological research, Native American partnerships and education under one mission with more efficient management.
“Our programs and tours will continue, and we will increase our financial strength,” Perry said. “We plan to be here for many more decades, and have to adapt and be innovative to make sure we grow.”
Crow Canyon’s 2015 budget was slightly more than $5 million. The nonprofit generates one-third of its revenues from program fees, one-third from gifts and one-third from private foundations and grants, including from the Gates Foundation, History Colorado and the National Endowment for Humanities. They have 11 archaeologists on staff.
In 2015, the campus used $1.3 million from fundraising to build six student cabins and a first responder cabin for school program participants. Each cabin has men’s and women’s bathrooms and provides sleeping quarters for 24 students and four adults. A seventh new building houses the first responder and nurses stations. Perry said the expansion has greatly enhanced operations and was a needed upgrade.